The bad news is that the Giants lost a game to the Cardinals because Matt Adams hit a broken bat double down the line. The good news is that it’s 2013 again. The Giants are reigning world champions, and they still have another World Series in the tank. Grant Brisbee is still writing for the site. American democracy isn’t an unmitigated terrorscape. It’s a great time!
The actual good news is that this game didn’t go to extra innings. The game had already taken over three hours by the time Adams got his hit. If he didn’t, this game would have gone 14 innings and the Giants would have lost anyway. Can you imagine a scenario in which the Giants beat the Cardinals at home when St. Louis is in the middle of a postseason chase and the Giants are just trying to play baseball?
Earlier today, Bryan posed the question: Do the Giants have enough even-year B.S. to disrupt the Cardinals’ devil magic? After watching Adams’ double down the line, the answer to that question is no. That was exactly the kind of hit the Giants would have gotten in 2012. It was reminiscent of the ball that hit third base and bounced over Miguel Cabrera’s head. It had no business being a hit. Statcast had it at a 23 percent hit probability, and it just barely stayed fair.
It just goes to show that the Cardinals’ devil magic is eternal.
I had a horrible realization watching Madison Bumgarner throw his warm-up pitches. As he threw, twangy country played over the PA at Busch Stadium. For a moment, the combination of the close-up on Bumgarner and the music gave the impression that this was an intentional choice. As if the Cardinals’ DJ were playing the music for Bumgarner.
But that couldn’t be true. Bumgarner is a player for an opposing team. The only music teams play for opposing pitchers is “Hit the Road, Jack,” and the “You Had a Bad Day,” song.
It just felt so natural for Bumgarner to be there in St. Louis, listening to good ole boy music and playing hardball. That’s when it hit me: Madison Bumgarner is a Cardinal.
Think about it. He’s a redass who’s convinced that his is the best way. He’s always been good to great, but he’s never been the best. However, when the playoffs come around, he’s unbeatable. He annoys every other fanbase in baseball. Sources also say that Bumgarner gets a bonus competitive balance pick in his fantasy football league for absolutely no reason. If those things don’t make him a Cardinal, I don’t know what does.
Bumgarner will wear a Cardinal uniform at some point in his career. I have seen it in the smoke. It may not come immediately when he enters free agency, but it will come.
Bumgarner’s problems this year have been the walks and reduced strikeouts while he’s perhaps getting lucky with batted balls but that wasn’t the case tonight. Against his future team, he looked fine if you look at peripherals. He threw six innings, struck out five, walked one, and didn’t give up a homer. That’s a 1.98 FIP in six innings which certainly means something.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals had eight hits in six innings against him and many of the outs they made against him were loud. The Cardinals had seven balls hit 95 MPH or harder.
If you believe that a pitcher has limited control over suppressing hard contact then the same must be true about allowing hard contact, right? The strikeout to walk ratio tonight means Bumgarner pitched well. Don’t look at all those hard-hit balls. I said don’t look at those.
Speaking of hard-hit balls, in the third inning, Jose Martinez hit a ball an estimated 422 feet. Gregor Blanco caught it in front of the wall. After Blanco caught it, Martinez appeared crestfallen, and he took a wide around first base and instead of turning back to the dugout as is customary after being declared out, Martinez kept walking to wear his absolutely crushed, but nonetheless caught, ball landed. He looked broken and lost. Martinez looked like the protagonist from an existential indie film who was about to walk straight into a pool.
Jose Martinez would not be a good fit in San Francisco.
After getting Matt Carpenter to pop up, Steven Okert has now made six appearances without giving up a run. In one of those appearances, he didn’t get anyone out, but this is a positive development. Pablo Sandoval and Chase d’Arnaud might not be the only Giants to end the year with a 0.00 ERA.
The past couple weeks, it’s been easy to see what the Giants were thinking with Evan Longoria. Tonight, he went 3-for-5 with two of those hits at over 100 MPH. The power has been there all year, and he’s been a bit unlucky on batted balls. A free agent third baseman wouldn’t be any cheaper or much younger.
The major problems have been the walks and the defense. While the walks are concerning, I’m willing to believe the defense is a blip. I don’t care about the career high in errors. You know who else has a ton of errors at third base? Matt Chapman. Even advanced stats like DRS and UZR can be volatile. Longoria has shown that he can still be an average defender if not a good one.
If you can believe the defense is still there, and he’ll walk at his career rate, there are reasons to be optimistic about Longoria going forward. There are also reasons to not be optimistic, but those haven’t been as obvious as of late.